I have probably hit this subject many times before, but I was in an interesting discussion in a subreddit. It was involving the difficulties involved with punishing a masochist. I thought I would pass on some of the discussion here.
“I am a strong sadist who enjoys a partner who is a strong masochist. So any previously negotiated form of pain play is not appropriate for a punishment. If it is possible to negotiate an undesired form of pain as a punishment, fine. But that cannot apply to a masochist who views it as suffering undesired sensation for the sake of her dominant. Then it turns into a reward.
In most cases, I have found that within a firmly established relationship, verbally informing my partner that she has been a serious disappointment is often sufficient. If it is not, I would seriously question the depth of the relationship.”
I was then asked, “So for punishments, they are more of a mental and verbal thing than they are the stereotypical view of punishments (ie – spankings or other pain play)?“
This resulted a longer response. “In an overall sense they all come down to mental. It is within your mind that you have to decide not to repeat the behavior that you are being punished for.
But within an SM dynamic, where people engage in extreme sensation for their mutual enjoyment, you have to decide how to convey your concerns over a particular behavior in a way that someone can hear.
We talk a lot about punishment when really we mean funishment, play acting a situation where someone has done something oh so wrong and must be corrected by overwhelmingly severe physical punishment and moan, groan, and plead for mercy which is appropriately ignored. Tiz a fun form of PLAY that require safe words so we can engage in it safely.
But in a deeply bonded relationship with a heavy SM dynamic, if a situation arises where a particular act or behavior is inappropriate and must be changed or corrected for the mutual benefit of all partners, attempting to correct it through SM behavior is usually doomed to failure.
My preferred direction is talk. Did you know your behavior was inappropriate? If not, the fault was mine because I did not educate you. Was there a misunderstanding? There, either you did not ask sufficient questions to understand my request or I did not give you an opportunity to do so. So the fault could lie with either one of us. Did unavoidable life situations cause the behavior? No problem, no blame. Did you behave in an inappropriate way because you wanted to or didn’t care about my request? In that case there must be a serious discussion as to whether or not this relationship is appropriate for you.
I believe that path is a good way to resolve difficult situations. Remember, the absolute best question for either party in negotiation for any form of relationship is, ‘What did you mean by that?'”